Trump touts econ­omy, Ge­or­gia sees racist calls as U.S. vote nears

Stabroek News Sunday - - WORLD NEWS -

PEN­SACOLA, Fl./AT­LANTA, (Reuters) - Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump touted U.S. eco­nomic growth and painted a grim pic­ture on im­mi­gra­tion in ral­lies with Repub­li­can can­di­dates be­fore Tues­day’s elec­tions as Demo­cratic for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den urged vot­ers to re­ject divi­sion.

In the lat­est in­jec­tion of racial ten­sions into the cam­paigns, a wave of au­to­mated calls us­ing racist and an­tiSemitic lan­guage went out to vot­ers in Ge­or­gia, where a Demo­cratic can­di­date is vy­ing to be­come the first black fe­male gov­er­nor in the United States.

Con­trol of both houses of the U.S. Congress, cur­rently dom­i­nated by Repub­li­cans, and 36 gov­er­nors’ of­fices will be at stake when Amer­i­cans vote on Tues­day. In­ter­est has been unusu­ally high for a non­pres­i­den­tial elec­tion year, with early vot­ing run­ning well ahead of past cy­cles.

Opin­ion polls and non­par­ti­san fore­cast­ers gen­er­ally show Democrats with a strong chance of tak­ing the 23 ad­di­tional seats they would need for a ma­jor­ity in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, which they could use to launch in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and block his leg­isla­tive agenda.

Repub­li­cans are favoured to re­tain con­trol of the Se­nate, whose pow­ers in­clude con­firm­ing Trump’s nom­i­na­tions to life­time seats on the Supreme Court.

“Amer­ica is boom­ing. Repub­li­cans passed a mas­sive tax cut for work­ing fam­i­lies and we will soon fol­low it up with an­other 10 per­cent tax cut for the mid­dle class,” Trump said, stand­ing in a Belgrade, Mon­tana, air­field with Air Force One as a back­drop.

Last De­cem­ber, Trump signed into law the largest tax over­haul since the 1980s, which slashed the cor­po­rate rate to 21 per­cent from 35 per­cent and tem­po­rar­ily re­duced the tax bur­den for most in­di­vid­u­als as well.

The ap­pear­ance was in­tended to boost the cam­paign of Matt Rosendale, the Repub­li­can state U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump ar­rives to at­tend a cam­paign rally for Repub­li­can U.S. Se­nate can­di­date Matt Rosendale at the Boze­man Yel­low­stone In­ter­na­tional Air­port in Belgrade, Mon­tana, U.S., Novem­ber 3, 2018. REUTERS/Car­los Bar­ria

au­di­tor chal­leng­ing Demo­cratic U.S. Se­na­tor Jon Tester. Trump called out Tester for his vote against his most re­cent Supreme Court nom­i­nee, say­ing “what he did was ter­ri­ble.”

Repub­li­cans in many com­pet­i­tive subur­ban dis­tricts have tried to fo­cus their cam­paign mes­sages on the ro­bust eco­nomic growth, though in his cam­paign ap­pear­ances Trump has also fo­cused on his hard-line im­mi­gra­tion stance as he looks to stem the il­le­gal and le­gal flow of peo­ple into the United States.

“The Democrats want to in­vite car­a­van af­ter car­a­van to flood your com­mu­ni­ties, de­plet­ing our re­sources and flood­ing our na­tion,” Trump told the Mon­tana crowd. “We don’t want that.”

Bi­den cam­paigned in Ohio yes­ter­day in sup­port of Democrats U.S. Se­na­tor Sher­rod Brown and gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Richard Cor­dray.

“We’re in a bat­tle for Amer­ica’s soul,” Bi­den, his voice faint and scratchy, told a crowd at a high school south of Cleve­land. “We Democrats have to make it clear who we are. We choose hope over fear, we choose unity over divi­sion, we choose our al­lies over our en­e­mies

and we choose truth over lies.”

RACIST ROBO­CALLS

A wave of robo­calls us­ing racist lan­guage went out in Ge­or­gia in re­cent days ap­par­ently tar­geted at un­der­min­ing the cam­paign of for­mer state law­maker Stacey Abrams, who is run­ning to be­come the first black fe­male gov­er­nor in the United States, ac­cord­ing to her and her ri­val’s cam­paign.

The calls im­per­son­ated me­dia mogul Oprah Win­frey, who ear­lier this week cam­paigned with Abrams, and also fea­tured anti-Semitic lan­guage, ac­cord­ing to au­dio of the call heard by Reuters.

Both Abrams and her ri­val, Ge­or­gia Sec­re­tary of State Brian Kemp, de­nounced the calls, with the Repub­li­can call­ing them “ab­so­lutely dis­gust­ing.”

“It just shows the des­per­a­tion,” said Ivory Watts, a 36-year-old ac­tivist who formerly lived in Ge­or­gia who re­ceived one of the calls.

The is­sue of voter sup­pres­sion has been cen­tral to the race in Ge­or­gia, where Kemp is the state’s top elec­tion over­seer.

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